Monday, 31 August 2009


Thursday, 27 August 2009

Time with the girls and dress shopping

It was a bit strange being in Israel for 8 days after the engagement and not being able to be with my girls. I really wanted to be with them and share the exciting news.

On my first night back Lizzie hosted a dinner for me! It was so much fun and I was really touched! She even opened a bottle of champagne!

My contribution? Cake with a huge hole in it! Something went very wrong!

It was such a fun evening and I felt so lucky to be celebrated by my friends in that way. Miri moved her guitar lesson to be there! Kate bought me a beautiful gift and I felt so spoiled! Thanks girls - love you.

Then, the following day, came a day I had been looking forward to forever: dress shopping. I had made three appointments and Katie and Miri would be coming with me. I had already spotted a dress I liked in Israel so it was a question of seeing how others would compete.

Seriously, parts of the day were ridiculous. Comments like 'this is the bestest finest..', consultants talking to me about fabric terms as though I knew what they meant, general snootiness and the use of every sales pitch in the bridal industry book: 'when Marc sees you walking down the aisle, what do you want him to see'... using my fiance's name in every sentence... witty. We certainly needed some food breaks - it was exhausting.

But the last shop was the best. The consultant would not let me try on a dress I wanted to try, saying it would look bad on me. Now, there are dresses I tried on that day that I didn't think did much for me, but I'm not the largest gal and since I didn't try on dresses that are slinky, most dresses looked okay, if not spectacular, on me. She told me that one dress I did try looked 'awful' on me. Others would have found her rude; I found her comical. Then she insisted I try on this hideous monstrosity encrusted with diamonds and shiny beads when I specifically said that I wouldn't wear anything with sparkle. She would not let it drop but I still flat out refused!

The last appointment of the day was Katie's. We had looked for her dress already and were going in to order it. It was so lovely so see her so excited, happy and radiant. We received champagne (twice in two days, I know) and toasted each other! The fabulous end to a fabulous day!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Venue Hunting

I have spent the last week looking for a venue and you know what? I'm so fed up of the whole process already! Clearly nothing will encompass all the elements that we would hope to find, in addition to the fact that everybody and his uncle three times removed has an opinion on the matter.

And you know the most audacious thing? You can imagine what one of my favourite aspects of weddings is: cake! But, lo and behold, in Israel people don't even have the big wedding cake and cake cutting ceremony! Clearly I will not compromise on cake! But, weddings in Israel are unusual and special and I have always wanted to marry here.

So take a look at my front runner of the moment, a venue called Derech Eretz. It's an open garden whose only disadvantage is that you can't have a band. All music must be played through the venue's amplification system, which controls the sound levels and ensures they comply with environmental standards. Bands won't hook up to this amplification system and thus in all gardens and open spaces people are obliged to have a DJ - something Marc and I didn't want. I'm happy to compromise but I don't want to push him into something he's not comfortable with so we may have to continue the search.

Here are the pictures - what do you think?

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Engaging news

I have wonderful news! When Marc said he was taking me somewhere special for the weekend but wouldn't say where, I have to admit, I knew something was up. When I found out we would be going to my homeland, I was touched and excited beyond belief. For those who don't know, I am British and Israeli. I was born in Israel and I lived there until I was 6. We speak Hebrew at home and Israel is close to my heart. And yet, it's a facet of me that most people don't know about and don't see. So for Marc to take me there to ask 'that' question is very special, an acknowledgement of my past and heritage and a promise to help me celebrate that going forward.

We flew in on Friday and spent Friday evening with my parents (eating at a fabulous fish restaurant). On Shabbat we walked to the port of Tel Aviv and enjoyed a stunning lunch of fresh food and a gorgeous sea breeze. Tonight Marc took me to a sensational and beautiful restaurant in one of my favourite areas: near the children's library I used to go to, near the Tel Aviv museum of art and the Cameri theatre and opera. It's a lovely setting, and the restaurant was so elegant.

We had a gorgeous meal and Dad had pre-ordered dessert for us: the most delectable dessert ever (more about the food later). The restaurant brought dessert out that said 'Mazal Tov'! It was so fun!

Then we took a walk around the area and ended up in a public garden that I used to go to as a child. I sat on a swing type thing and Marc got on one knee and said some of the most wonderful things to me, and asked me to be his callah, his wife. I was so emotional and happy! Then he slipped the most beautiful ring on my finger! I won't post it but it looks like the Tiffany Novo.

We called his parents immediately, and then we went up to the flat where my Mum and Dad were waiting for us and relaxed together. A perfect day filled with meaning. I am soooooooo happy and excited about all that is to come! Yayyyyy!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Those celebrities

have so many things handed to them on a plate. Often success and a wealth of opportunities to do interesting things just drop at their feet. Normally this doesn't particularly bother me, as I have never hankered after fame or notoriety, and I value my privacy more than I could value millions of dollars. It's the opportunities that get me. One such opportunity is that to publish a cookery book.

Many of us could conjure up some tried and tested recipes to put in a cookery book, but most of us will never get the opportunity to do so. And yet all variety of people are doing just that: beauty editors, style section divas and, most recently, the once plus sized model Sophie Dahl.

And I have to admit, I thought: 'what's she going to know about cookery?'. Already I think that cookery books by the likes of Nigella Lawson contain too many photos of the author. So I expected a self indulgent and rather average book when I ordered it from Amazon (only because it was 60% off and could go back if I didn't like it). But, as is often the case, I was proven wrong.

You see, on Sunday I had a conversation with my friend Miriam. 'Miri, I need a quick easy cake to make because I'm lazy and late'.

'Well, I made this great recipe, and it's from a cut-out from the paper, because I would neeeeveeeer actually buy this book'... and Miri proceeds to tell me about Dahl's book and the banana loaf recipe that she loved. I exclaim that I have it, and try the recipe.

It is the EASIEST recipe in the world. And the best. And it used up my nearly-stale bananas. Seriously, this is a beautiful book, well written, with plenty of recipes that you actually want to make. On the whole healthy, but yummy food, like mushroom risotto and saffron fish.

Here's the recipe for banana loaf. You're supposed to toast it but I haven't. You can bet I'll be having some for breakfast! I have made two loaves in 3 days. Unprecedented success. Mmmm!


1 1/2 cups flour
4 ripe mashed bananas
1 tbs baking powder/bicarb
1 egg, beaten
1 cup brown sugar
pinch of salt 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup butter


Preheat oven to 180C/Gas4. Grease a 30x23c,/12x1 inch loaf tin
Pour mashed bananas into a big mixing bowl. Mix in butter, sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Add bicarb/baking soda and salt and mix in flour last. Pour into prepared tin bake for one hour, remove and cool. Toast slices and spread a little butter... mmm. I think chocolate chips would be a great addition, too!

Thursday, 6 August 2009


Frugal is certainly something I am not. In fact, I am the opposite. I find it hard to resist the temptation of clothing and bags and shoes and and and....

I am not interested in designer merchandise, but I love pretty, girlie things - too many of them. I think this means that sometimes I don't appreciate what I have. I don't even always remember what I have. Disturbingly, the thrill of something new is a pick-me-up of the professional woman of my generation, and fills the void or dissatisfaction of various aspects of life - I see it every day. This can be analysed ad infinitum, but that's not what this blog entry is about.

I want to change. I want to manage my spending better. I don't want to be a slave to the material. I want to be responsible. What has brought on this desire to improve? Not one thing, I suppose, just moving on in my life. Let me tell you about my friend Sarah who has inspired me.

Sarah is great. She is 25 and got married to David at 24. She knows what it takes to make a marriage work. She knows how to compromise, give in, adapt. She is very mature. And I have seen her change in front of my very eyes. She used to love shopping, buying things, treating herself and now she is as careful with money as can be. What happened?

When David wanted to propose to Sarah, he was a graduate student at Yale and she was a law student in London. He didn't have savings with which to buy her a ring, and his accommodation charge included some compulsory meal tickets. He literally didn't eat beyond what was mandatory for him to pay for, so that he could save up to buy Sarah's ring.

He bought her a beautiful engagement ring from Tiffany's. It is dainty and perfect and beautiful, and a lasting and meaningful symbol of his love for his girl. He suffered for that ring. And his gesture made an impression on Sarah and has changed her. It has changed her for good. If he could sacrifice so much, who is she to spend frivolously?

She now sees everything she spends as taking away from their future. She thinks twice. She takes things back if she doesn't really need them. She has grown up and is able to look beyond her immediate desires and impulses and I want to learn to do the same.

So here is my pledge:

1. I will write down what I spend;

2. I will stop wasting money on lunch out and will make my own at home;

3. I will stop wandering into shops 'for the fun of it';

4. I will organise my clothes so I can see them and use them;

5. I will constantly ask myself if I need this - really - and what really matters to me.

Are you frugal? What are your tips for me? Please let me know! I need your help and would love to hear your thoughts!

PS: Has anyone read/seen 'Confessions of a Shopaholic'? I thought the book was fun and that the movie was awful!

Heartfelt award and so much to say

I have the best readers and blogger friends ever. I say it once in a while, certainly not often enough, but it is unquestionably true.

I have lapsed with my blogging not because there haven't been things to tell you about but rather because there has been too much stuff. Have you ever been stifled and mummed by how much you want to convey? Where to begin? I think the pragmatic response is to say things more often! There has been challah baking - and learning why baking challah is such a divinely special mitzvah for Jewish women to perform - I have been learning to sew with the girls, there are holiday photos from Florida, cake adventures galore.... and then there have been some musings about life.

Why haven't I posted them? A lack of time I suppose. And a desire to do more than post a recipe or snapshot but to analyse and share. And that takes time and energy, both of which have been somewhat rare commodities lately.

But you have lured me back with your support and wonderful comments and for that, and the inspiration with which you nourish my days, I am grateful. I want to invest more in this blog. A huge shout out and thank you to Esme, whose blog I adore and who has bestowed on me the honour of the 'Heartfelt Award'.
If there is something I would like my blog to be then it is that! Esme describes it best: those blogs that give you a warm and comforting feeling, that remind you of what matters in life, that are poignant with their honesty and graceful in their celebration of all that is warm and comforting and, in the case of the blogs that I enjoy, womanly.

I would like to give the award to a few blogs that give me that feeling, too, but each in different ways. Comfort brings with it connotations of beauty and the idyllic, but the blogs that I have chosen mix that with a dose of reality. I love these blogs for their honesty, for the different manifestations of comfort, such as humour, creativity, resourcefulness. In no particular order:

Party of six - Amy's beautiful family, stunning writing and gorgeous photography. A real treasure.

Heather Drive - a wonderful blog about married life and adventures.

Overdue - Emily's witty, clever blog that you must read. I am mortified that I have completely forgotten about the bookclub. Please forgive me Emily!

In other news:

I am leaving my job (as a corporate trainee lawyer) for good next Friday. I haven't got another job in the pipeline and that scares me. Normally I am the 'sorted' one, the one who has everything together. As you all know, life on a conveyor belt was wearing me down. So now I will have plenty of time to think. Am I scared? Yes. Instability and judgement await me. This is the first time ever that I have been directionless. There are no legal jobs on the market, and as I qualify as a solicitor I wonder whether I will ever practice. And somehow, staying in this, one of the world's largest law firms, wasn't an option.

My father and Marc are on my side and understand my need to lead a more balanced life than corporate law can offer, but my mother sees things rather differently and I know she feels that I have thrown away an amazing opportunity. If I am honest I do feel I have failed. Yet if that is the case then I have failed in something that doesn't matter to me. Failure isn't a nice feeling but it can be contextualised and viewed with perspective when you realise that most people are running around after something they don't even want. So perhaps with time I will feel a release.

On Friday Marc is taking me to Israel for a celebration of my qualifying as a lawyer (a jobless lawyer, but a lawyer all the same). I have a lot to be grateful for. And the 'heartful' quality of your blogs and comments is just what I need.